Having Down syndrome is not for the faint of heart. Hope does just fine with her diagnosis. She is carefree and does her own thing. She says hello to anyone in her line of vision. She puts out her hand and say, " Hi, I'm Hope! What's your name?" After they answer or not...she will say, "Nice to meet you."
When I say not for the faint of heart, this is directed to those who don't live daily with the quirks, the smiles, the tantrums, the fashion statements, the exerted dependence and/or independence, and the health issues. A person who is faint of heart does not accept differences. This person sees black or white...no gray area.
I always thought that I was faint at heart when it came to persons that were not like me. But I have learned through a great teacher, Hope, that even the most intolerant person can be changed. That person is me.
When I was growing up, a little girl down the street was deaf. I wasn't very nice to her. A few blocks on the other side of the street lived a little boy who probably had Autism. I wasn't nice to him either! And then there was the kid up the hill who had seizures. He just plain scared me!
I remember when I was a freshman in college many of my friends were entering a major that was called"special ed". These people had the nerve to tell me that I should consider it too. Seriously???
I took a personality test and an aptitude test that determined that I should be a dental hygienist, a hair stylist or a Home Economics teacher. I eventually chose Home EC. Definitely not Special Ed.
Fast forward to this century.....I have a child who is in "special ed". God has a sense of humor, and he knew that I did too!
I was in total denial that she had Down syndrome. She looked like a baby to me with chubby cheeks and hands. I already raised 3 daughters, she wasn't anything different.
Oh I had her enrolled in the First Steps program and she received all the therapies weekly, but I knew that she really didn't have a syndrome.
When she was 7 months old, our family took a trip to DC. While at the Smithsonian, strangers would comment on how cute she was. One lady told me that her child was at home and that he was 12 years old and doing well. I had no clue why she would tell me this, until she mentioned that he had Down syndrome. My baby didn't look like she had Down syndrome.....how could this lady possibly know.
Well, duh, Hope looked like she possessed the extra 21 chromosome. I was so much in love with this baby that I didn't see her differently.
Now that Hope is 17, enrolled in a Special Ed classroom that she loves, I can say out loud that she has the characteristics of a person with Down syndrome. She is who she is! Heck, she is one of the funniest kids I know!
Many of her friends have cardiac problems. When she was 2 months old she saw a cardiologist and he said, " You may fire me, she has a great heart!" Hope is not faint of heart!
I am so glad that God plopped her in my life. Because of that, I am no longer faint of heart. Gray is the new black and white for me!